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What kind of experiences would you recommend the summer before senior year and the summer before college in order to get ahead for pre-med in college?

I just finished my junior year in high school and I am wondering how I should be proactive this summer. I have heard that internships and volunteering in clinics is very good if you plan to go into pre-med, but I am unsure of how to get myself out there. Both of my parents did not go into anything medical related and my father actually did not attend college, so they do not have much experience with the college process. My biggest questions are how to get into internships and volunteering opportunities as an upcoming senior. #premed #internship #medicine #college


Hello, As others have suggested, I would recommend volunteering at a hospital or a clinic. I am a pre-med student myself, so I have Kimiya Mansour

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Valentina’s Answer

Hello! My biggest advice is for you to start volunteering at a local hospital or clinic. Most hospitals allow volunteers to come in and run errands fo the nurses or entertain the younger patients in pediatrics. Go on the hospital websites and fill out applications. I would also recommend for you to find what your passionate about and invest time in it because medical school's like to see someone well-rounded that they can get to know. You can learn a new language, start tutoring younger students, volunteer at a homeless shelter, or join a sports team. Make sure you dedicate time to whatever it is you like to do.

This is a great idea so thank you ! :) Logan A.

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John’s Answer

As a College hopeful Logan, your gonna have to navigate a maze of standardized tests, essays, recommendation letters and deadlines when you apply to college.

COLLEGE ADMISSION TIMELINE FOR HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS

The college application process can seem intimidating, especially if you don't have parents or siblings who have already been through it and can offer advice. Colleges are looking for students who have not only done well but who have also challenged themselves, as they are more likely to succeed in college-level courses. College Admissions officers also take into account the level of rigor available at a your school.

Before the rigors of senior year kick in, consider using the summer months to visit a few of the schools at the top of your list. Much information can be gained from the institution’s website and online research, but students who visit prospective colleges and universities typically access the best insights – these will be of great help if you receive multiple offers and are faced with tough decisions about which one to accept.

BEFORE YOU TAKE A STEP – One way to get a leg up on all the other applicants is to apply early. It may seem premature to apply for college before your senior year is over, but trust me on this! Pick three dream schools, if you pick three dream schools instead of your one-and-only dream campus, you will be more likely to get into at least one. Once you have an idea of what colleges you’d like to apply to and their submission deadlines, get a big calendar and map out the dates for when each application needs to be submitted. that way you can pace yourself, rather than scrambling last minute over 500,000 word essays due within 24 hours. (Not that I learned this the hard way or anything).

EIGHT STEPS TO THE COLLEGE APPLICATION PROCESS

STEP 1.) ADVANCED PLACEMENT CLASSES – College is difficult, and Med school is even harder. For a pre-med track in college will need to study biology, chemistry, and physics, take as many challenging AP courses next year as possible. This will help prepare you for the demands of maintaining a high GPA as an undergraduate, which is one of the most important factors for maximizing your chances for acceptance on your your college admissions application.

STEP 2.) IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS – Medicine today also requires physicians to engage with their patients and the healthcare team via various communication avenues. This may include electronic medical record notes, email, social media, and, most important of all, in person. Pre-medical students should become adept at efficiently and clearly communicating verbally and in writing to prepare them for this essential component of current medical practice. If your high school has the option of writing a senior thesis or presenting a capstone project, this can help you work on communication skills as well as learning good research techniques, another important skill for pre-med undergraduates.

STEP 3.) EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES – When medical school admissions committees admit applicants, they are choosing to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into their education. It is a huge investment of time, money, and resources. They must make absolutely sure that you know exactly what they are getting into! They simply cannot risk admitting a student who doesn’t have the highest level of commitment to medicine or who doesn’t have the resilience and perseverance to make it through to the end. To demonstrate your commitment to becoming a physician, you should probably spend some time learning what it’s like to be one! Good extracurricular activities for medical school, therefore, include shadowing doctors, working as a scribe, working at a clinic, or interning at a hospital, among others.

STEP 4.) SEPTEMBER – WRITE A UNIQUE ESSAY – Depending on the number of schools to which a you intend to apply, you could find yourself writing a variety of different essays for each application. While many questions will overlap and text can be shared across essays for different schools, it’s also vitally important to ensure every essay is uniquely tailored to the individual school. you should review the essay prompts as soon as possible and spend some time outlining their answers before sitting down to write. The college admissions process is competitive, admissions officers are faced with stacks of candidate applications to sort through, so it can be an advantage to take steps to make your application stand out. Don't forget to address specific questions asked on your application, and proofread your essay for proper grammar and usage.

STEP 5.) OCTOBER – TAKE THE ACT AND/OR SAT– The standardized entrance exam a student takes is sometimes dependent on their geographic location and the region of prospective schools. The SAT has traditionally been considered the favorite of students who are excel in areas of vocabulary and writing, while the ACT appeals to students who are more analytic and scientific in their reasoning. If possible, students should try to take both in their junior year to get a sense of which exam is a better fit for them. You can't just rely on your high school knowledge, no matter how vast it may be. It takes some time to prepare! Think months, not days. So, plan ahead; score happy. Before you start to study for the SAT, buy an SAT book, flip to the back, and take an SAT practice test cold. See exactly the kind of score you'd get with no study time at all. The score you get is your baseline score. From there, you'll know exactly where you need to improve.

STEP 6.) NOVEMBER – LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATIONS – Admissions officers use letters of recommendation to learn about how other people view you. An impressive letter of recommendation can help remedy any uncertainties an admissions officer may have such as a low ACT or SAT score. Build relationships with the advisers and organization leaders that head up programs with which you're involved. These relationships will help them provide a comprehensive view of your strengths and abilities in their letters. It's also important to ask the right teachers to be your reference, since many applications will require teacher recommendations.

STEP 7.) DECEMBER – ADVANTAGES OF EARLY ADMISSIONS –Early admission is a special admission plan where you'll submit you college applications earlier in the year in exchange for early acceptance in the month of November or December. If you have a high GPA and an excellent student history, you may have a better chance of getting accepted to a selective school if you apply before the flood of applications come in. While the student can benefit, the true beneficiary is the college. By accepting high performing high school students early, they can get students to commit early and fill all of the seats left during the regular admissions period. If you have always dreamed of attending a specific school, filing an early decision plan will show your sincere commitment. You also can eliminate the stress associated with filing multiple applications during your senior year so that you have time to enjoy the activities. If you are rejected from an early decision school, you are still free to apply during the normal application timeline.

STEP 8.) MANAGE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE – Your online personas are really a wild card in the admissions process: the bottom line for you is what you post online likely won’t GET YOU INTO COLLEGE, but it just might KEEP YOU OUT. Checking up on applicants' social media profiles is becoming routine for many admissions offices around the country. Recruiters say social media helps them gain a more comprehensive picture of a candidate than a college application. Depending on how they view what they find, an applicant's web presence can make or break an offer.

Early decision and action plans may not be right for everyone. The exception Logan, you already know for certain your future plans are med school, for you this could be a good approach. Familiarize yourself with the admissions process and the restrictions. If you can make the commitment, early college admission could be right for you.

Hope this was Helpful Logan

John recommends the following next steps:

Meet College Application Deadlines, Beat the Rush by Submitting Yours Early!
Complete the Entire Application, Include Your Extracurricular Activities
Write a Stellar Essay: Be Creative; Avoid the Fluffy Stuff
Don't Forget: Your High School Transcripts; SAT and ACT test scores
Get Awesome Letters of Recommendations

Thank you so much for the timeline. I found it very informative! Logan A.

Your Welcome Logan, It was my Pleasure. Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible. John Frick

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Gloria’s Answer

Hello, I would have to follow the recommendation of Valentina, volunteer or get an internship related to the career that you want to pursue. Do you have a type of medicine that you would like to practice? Dentistry is different from wanting to be a surgeon. In addition to volunteering at a hospital, considering volunteering with organizations where the main recipients are people who are most often under medical care. I am thinking of MAKE A WISH which is well known. There are others that I have heard of where people who suffer from specific diseases. Here in Texas where i live, there is the Texas Neurofibromatosis Foundation. I also volunteer with an organization (https://www.hopekids.org/) where all the families have a child with a severe illness. The events themselves are not about the medical conditions, but supporting families with those conditions. You can learn about the real life of patients outside of the hospitals that dominate so much of their lives. You might also benefit from expanding your knowledge outside of the medical field. Colleges like a well rounded person. If you are a musician or riding horses, explore volunteering with those skills. In many places, volunteering is a matter of you finding something that you are passionate about. All of these suggestions will take research. Maybe your area has a Volunteer Network that you could check to get some ideas. Good Luck.

Thank you so much for the suggestions! Logan A.

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Logan, I agree with the comments and would like to add to definitely focus on clinical volunteering and non-clinical. Besides academics, it is very important to be a well rounded applicant and community service is really important. Right now there is limited opportunities because of COVID. I would check out Pointsoflight.org or see if your local school or community needs help nearby with the pandemic. That being said definitely keep safe and maintain social distance, but there are also remote opportunities as well you can take part in. Once you get to college you will be better with age criteria for clinical volunteering because usually as a high school student it can be difficult to step into clinical work. Definitely add non-clinical to your application as well, it can be anything really, tutoring, mentoring, working in a soup kitchen, etc. just something you are passionate about truly. Remember quality over quantity, if you have a couple volunteering opportunities over time that will make more of a difference than doing 10 different activities. For now focus on your grades, AP courses can help as well, and when you get college make sure to keep your GPA high, volunteer and speak with a premed adviser. They will help you most in getting to medical school; also check out AAMC.org there are many certified individuals who have great information on a variety of topics to help ensure students get on the path to medicine. keep working hard! Best of luck!

Yasemin recommends the following next steps:

Check out pointsoflight.org
Check out AAMC.org
Stay safe

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Abhinav’s Answer

Hello Logan. I would really suggest first and foremost when the hospitals reopen you volunteer at the hospital and really understand what a career in healthcare entails. You will directly be able to observe what a doctor does, what a nurse does etc. Also what will really help you is exposing yourself to the AP courses in the basic sciences. These may include biology, chemistry, and physics. Human anatomy is also a great course to take if you are able to do so. Taking these courses will allow you to be a step ahead in college since the content covered in these courses is essentially the university equivalent of the introductory sequences of these courses. Since many of these classes are curved you will be more than equipped to succeed given the challenges. I hope this was helpful!

Thank you !! Logan A.

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Savanna (Savi)’s Answer

Hi Logan,

If it's hard with Covid to get a volunteer position anywhere, one suggestion would be to reach out to current medical professionals to learn more about their jobs. You could use LinkedIn or family friends. While this won't be something to put directly on your resume like volunteer experience, it could help you learn a lot about the field to avoid valuable time later on. Even to learn more about an area you don't want to pursue can be very enlightening. I wish I had learned more about career opportunities by talking with people actually working in those careers when I started college.

Best of luck!

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McKenzie’s Answer

With Coronavirus, it will be very difficult to pursue hospital volunteer opportunities, at least for the next few months. However, there are some ways to gain experience online! Check out Operation Warm, paper-airplanes.org, and Dosometing.org for some virtual opportunities. These all count as volunteer hours and it would be great to talk about how you found something to contribute even when stuck inside!

Hope this helps!

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Richard’s Answer

Several options inlcude:
volunteer at a hospital or low income clinic
try to become a scribe
obtain EMT license
try to join a research project through your future college; e.g. the Freshman research initiative at University of Texas at Austin

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