Whatever year you are in school—high school freshman, college senior, or anything in between—it’s never too early to start planning your path to medical school. Follow these five tips to help keep your journey on track!
1. Meet with your advisor
Whether you’re unsure about what classes to take, what major is most beneficial, or how to get volunteer hours in a hospital—your academic advisor normally holds all the answers. They also have incredible connections.
Thanks to advice from my academic advisor, I met with the Career Center to learn more about the Pre-med services they provide. Unbeknownst to me, my College’s career center is capable of connecting me with a mentor physician in a local hospital to shadow. Meeting with your advisor may be extremely beneficial in finding new opportunities.
Related: Preparing for Medical School
2. Get involved
Most schools offer a list of every club they offer. This will prove beneficial as you might discover an activity you never knew existed. However, though a strong résumé is built on a foundation of extracurriculars, don’t spread yourself too thin. Get involved with activities that interest you to help with stress relief and create a solid work-life balance. If your school offers medicine-related clubs, consider joining one, but being involved in general is beneficial.
For my freshman year of college, I was excited by the assortment of activities my campus had to offer. Based on my schedule and credit hours, I decided three clubs would be a great way to get involved on campus and still maintain my grades. But only you know your limits!
3. Summer work
Planning activities for the summer is another way to prepare for your path to medical school. This may include a medicine-related job, volunteering, research, shadowing, or even taking classes to get ahead for the fall semester. For most Pre-med students, there’s no allotted time during the school year to study abroad due to the heavy course load. Therefore, you could use the summer to study abroad if that’s something you’re interested in. Summer is also a great time for internships. Your academic advisor may be able to help you find a great opportunity if you give them enough notice.
Networking with other medical students can help you on your journey to medical school. Besides giving you personal insight into the application process, what to expect on the MCAT, and what an average day of medical school looks like, they may also be able to give you old textbooks. When I was unsure about what activities to get involved in on campus, I asked a couple medical students what they did. Even just having someone to bounce questions off of can be extremely helpful.
It’s never too early to start attending medicine-related seminars and conferences if you’re able to. Not only are these great educational experiences, they’re also a means of networking and building connections for the future. They offer in-depth looks at specific hot topics in health care that you might not be so familiar with. As a result, this could spark an interest in a particular field you might want to go into.
Looking for more advice to excel in health care? Check out our Health and Medicine section!