Aspiring physicians know how difficult it is to get accepted into medical school. Intimidating statistics abound; only one-third of applicants who apply to medical school are accepted, according to author Christian Becker, M.D. Applicants shouldn’t give up hope; the summer provides college students a break from their rigorous academic semesters, and it provides additional time to develop into the accomplished, well-rounded candidates medical schools seek.
Shadow a Physician
Shadowing a practicing physician while in college demonstrates your dedication to the field of medicine and helps you to know if you are choosing the right career. If you have any contacts in the medical field, reach out to them or call local physicians’ offices to create an opportunity during the summer when you are less likely to have scheduling conflicts with your classes. Shadow a family practitioner or a general surgeon for exposure to a wide variety of medical conditions and procedures. Practice professional etiquette and conduct; your experience may lead to a letter of recommendation from the doctor you shadow.
Prep for the MCAT
The Medical College Admissions Test is a very important component of an aspiring medical student's application packet. Even applicants with the highest undergraduate GPAs must score well, according to Indiana University at Bloomington. It is inadvisable to take this test more than once, so you must be sufficiently prepared for it. The summer provides time to take an MCAT preparation course when you can devote your full attention to it. Forming an MCAT study group with other premedical students can also improve your knowledge and chances for success.
While medical school should be the primary focus of an applicant’s college experience, it should not be the only one. The undergraduate years are a time to pursue extracurricular activities; get involved in a team sport, perform community service for an organization that is meaningful to you or take up a musical instrument. Candidates “ideally need to show a longitudinal track record of involvement in activities,” according to U.S. News and World Report. Immerse yourself in your chosen activities during the less hectic summers, allowing time to develop strong talents and skills that make you a well-rounded individual.
Catch Up on Academics
While the fall and spring are typically spent focusing on earning the highest GPA possible in rigorous courses, summer provides an opportunity to catch up on courses that you can take in short yet fast-paced sessions. Fulfill an anthropology or physical education requirement, or choose a digital photography course as an elective in the summer; the relaxed atmosphere will enable you to earn a high grade without the weight of more demanding courses on your shoulders.
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