Top 5 Ways to Spend Your Summer!

Summer time will come and summer time will go! Before you know it, you’ll be getting ready for the next school year. As a pre-medical student, it is very important that you spend your summers wisely and enhance your medical school candidacy. Below is a list of our Top 5 summer activities!

1. Clinical Experience: There are many ways to get clinical experience during your summer break. Examples include shadowing a physician/medical provider, scribing, working or volunteering at a hospital. Do not let this process intimidate you. There are many opportunities out there but you must be proactive in getting one. You may start by speaking with your premedical advisor to get a list of opportunities or physician contacts. Try going to an area hospital and asking about volunteer opportunities. Hospitals can always use a helping hand! There are also websites dedicated to help you find a scribe position. In this day and age of electronic medical records (EMRs) physicians are more and more interesting in scribes. If you will be home for the summer, consider asking your family doctor if you can shadow him or her once a week. Most physicians would love to provide guidance and mentorship, especially your hometown doc!
2. Medical School Hosted Summer Program: Be on the lookout for summer programs as these are great opportunities to travel, familiarize yourself with a medical program and their staff, as well as networking with other premedical students. Most students make lifelong friendships through these programs. There is a wide variety of programs available. These are primarily research or clinical and some even offer an MCAT prep course. Many programs offer a stipend as well as room and board which means; no ramen noodles for the summer, yes! You will want to begin looking for summer programs early (November or December) because they have limited spots and can be very competitive. Many of these applications are due by February or March.
3. Research: It would be nice to do research away from home in a summer program, but you can also work with a professor at your own school. A benefit of conducting research at your own program is that you can then continue your project into the school year. Many skills can be picked up doing research (both basic and clinical). You do not necessarily have to know or choose the type of research you like at this point. It is a time to learn a new skill set and gain a basic idea of what is done behind the scenes. There is a good chance the research you do now will catch up to you in the future. Aside from learning and perhaps getting a paycheck, another goal of your research should be to present an abstract or publish a paper from your findings. This may take some time so you will need some stick-to-itiveness. Ultimately, when you are applying to medical school, this will pay off in your favor!
4. Travelling Abroad: Sounds like fun! What a great way to explore and learn. You will certainly make lifetime memories and it is always impressive on your CV/resume. Find something unique to do, something you may never again have the opportunity to do. While abroad, some students do medical missions work, take a foreign language, or take other educational courses. This will bring up great conversation at your interviews.
5. Studying for MCAT: It’s no fun but it’s got to be done. This test can make or break your chances of getting into medical so it may not be a bad idea to dedicate a summer to prepare. This is especially important for those with GPA scores

As a pre med student, your summers are like gold…extremely valuable! It is of utmost importance that you use them to become a better applicant. With that said, it is also very important that you have fun doing it!