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What should a pre-med student living in the pandemic do right now?

With the pandemic going on, all of my plans to build my pre-medical portfoli have been put on hold. What can I do to ensure I am still maximizing my time as an undergrad on the pre-med track (volunteer, job, internship, etc)?
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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Hanan! Right now a lot of premed students are facing the same dilemma so don't worry. I would definitely first take a deep breath and know that you are most likely doing your best. Times are tough and medical schools are aware of this; first evaluate your situation are you a freshmen or a junior getting closer to applying to medical school? Do you have time to get more shadowing and volunteering before applying? This pandemic will hopefully subside, I do believe that we will return to a sense of normal where clinical activities will pursue again but in this time evaluate your situation in terms of, do you have experience in shadowing and volunteering? Or were you going to start new and have more time to complete? If you have started new then you have time to complete such as if you are a freshmen; however if you are getting closer to applying I would definitely look at your hours and your experiences, are they enough and can you talk about them in a meaningful way?

Aside from that there are virtual opportunities taking place for volunteering as well, for example your undergrad university can need volunteers for tutoring. Check with them in terms of this and other opportunities- of course while staying safe- in addition check out and , you may come across some helpful opportunities to virtually volunteer. In addition I am attaching a couple articles below that gives insight to premed students. I would also advise to be helpful in this time, for example help your neighbors maybe with groceries or your classmates with schoolwork and studying, maybe sewing masks and donating them- of course once again please stay safe and only if you can. I am listing these because as a premed and medical student it should be shown that compassion and empathy are valued along with changing times and stepping up to the plate in difficult times; these are traits medical schools look for and there may be questions about how you handled the pandemic. So to even list small ways of making a difference like getting some groceries for your elderly neighbor or helping plan a group study so everyone is board even though classes are online can show that you can take leadership and be empathetic in difficult times. As a last note, always keep studying and make sure to maintain good grades because it is truly important for medical school that your GPA is stellar, so definitely keep studying and working hard to get the most out of your classes even if it may be a difficult and different time.

If you have more questions please ask! I hope this helps!

Best of luck future doctor!

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Sundar Rajan’s Answer

I know how hard this can be for pre-med students aspiring to get into medical school.

My son is a 2nd year student at UT Southwestern and here is what he suggested that i can share. I am aware of a student who is actually using this. Its a Pre-Health Virtual Shadowing. It has videos and ways to get some shadowing experience.


Other than that, i would suggest taking some bio-stats online courses in case your UG didn't have that opportunity. This may be useful during your medical school to understand medical journals/papers better as they will be increasingly using statistics to a higher order than ever before with prevalence of big data technologies and tools these days.

Best wishes and hope this helps.

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Catherine’s Answer

Hi Hanan,

It's great that you're thinking about how you can get involved during the pandemic!

For volunteering, I'd highly suggest reaching out to your local hospitals to ask if they have virtual volunteering programs. If they don't, you could offer to help do a donation drive for them or any other creative ideas you can think of to help them out! In addition, there are a plethora of COVID-19 related opportunities, whether that be volunteering with your local food bank/Meals on Wheels, with a COVID-19 testing site, or with the Red Cross. If you don't feel comfortable coming into contact with others or you live with a member of a vulnerable population, there are also many online volunteering opportunities available. For example, you can volunteer with Be My Eyes (an app that connect blind and low-sighted people with volunteers to help them read their documents through video call), the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, or an online tutoring platform!

For research/jobs, I highly recommend reaching out to your professors, as some research can be conducted online. Wet labs will need you to go into lab, but many psychology labs have remote experiments and work that you can do! Many companies also offered virtual internships this summer, for example, check out Medtronic, EPIC, and Edwards Lifesciences!

Good luck!

- Cathy