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What college extracurriculars should I focus on?

I'm starting college in the fall and am wondering what type of extracurriculars I should do. I'm aware of the many types that my school offers but I want to know how my time would be best spent as a pre-med student. I will of course do what I find enjoyable but I also want to know of any extracurriculars that strengthen my resume.
#pre-med #college-advice #extracurriculars #time-management

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Melisa’s Answer

Hi Erykah,

First off, we are neighbors! I live next door to Schaumburg, IL. I hope your first year of college is going well. I completely agree with Jacob's answer regarding community service. My daughter is in her first year of grad school in a medical program. During her high school and under grad years, she took time to volunteer, for events with a health or social services benefit. For example, she spent time helping a non-profit serving cancer patients, or at an event or program in a hospital, etc.

Check out organizations like Philsfriends.org (in Roselle, IL) who are serving cancer patients in the hospital and at home.

Volunteering can demonstrate your leadership skills and passion for serving. In addition, it can help you grow your network of people who may be possible mentors or valuable connections in your future career search.

Best wishes to you in your educational and career goals!

Melisa recommends the following next steps:

Check our organizations like http://philsfriends.org who have volunteer opportunities in health related services.
Find a mentor or individual in a career or activity that interests you and further build your connections.
Also check out helpful resources like www.greatnonprofits.org to search for additional non-profit community organizations to volunteer with.

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Jacob’s Answer

Hi, Erykah,

I cannot speak to extracurriculars that can bolster a resume in the medical field specifically, but I can give some general advice. I think it is important to continue activities that interest you. The key is finding a way to articulate how those activities make you an attractive candidate for a job. Your resume is not merely a sheet of paper that lists your academic achievements, skills, and prior work experience. It is a way to show an employer why you are the right person for a job. Be creative and figure out a way to make things that interest you also make you a stronger job candidate.

Engaging in some kind of community service is also a great idea. Many companies, hospitals included, encourage their employees to participate in philanthropic activities. Finding an organization whose mission you think is important and that you like to volunteer with is always a good idea and a great item to add to your resume.

I hope this helps - don't hesitate to reach out. Good luck!

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Le Chern’s Answer

From personal experience in college

  • Pro-professional clubs can be useful to get to know upperclassmen and alumni who can give you advice and coach you in the process
  • Highly recommend study abroad programs: very useful for getting to know another cultural environment and makes you stand out as someone who is adaptable and agile
  • Extracurriculars that teach you about team-mate and leadership (e.g., Model UN)

That said, don't overwhelm yourself with extracurriculars, pick 1-2 to go really deep on.

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Rachel’s Answer

A research publication is looked very favorably on by admissions committees.

Otherwise, GPA and MCAT are by far the most important aspects of your application.

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Richard’s Answer

Try to find opportunities to pursue research.

Volunteer at your local hospital or low-income clinic. Ask physicians, PAs or other clinical providers if you can shadow them.