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Let's Talk About Extracurriculars

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by The Cowboy, Jan 11, 2001.

  1. First of all, I want to extend a big "howdy" to all the premeds out there. I am a former user of The Princeton Review's discussion board and I have found the members of this site to be overall MUCH more intelligent and thoughtful in their posts than I have seen at TPR in a long while.

    Having said that, I am hoping that some of you will be good enough to describe extracurriculars of competitive applicants, either yourselves or others you may know. The purpose of this is to see what the rest of you are doing and hopefully get an idea for something else I can do this semester. I am a junior hoping to matriculate in the class of 2006 and obviously I have done the usual drill: volunteer in the ER, research, club involvement, etc. However, as I mentioned, I wouldn't mind picking up something last-minute before apps go out in June. Thanks in advance.
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  3. mvalento

    mvalento Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    chicago, IL
    well, i'm not sure what you mean by 'competitive applicant' but i guess i could qualify since i've been accepted- my extra-currics were nothing too special- some ER and surgical recovery work, some work in a local clinic, minor activites in student government, and a bit of research in random fields (orgo and coastal ecology, of all things). however, i felt that this may have been a weak area for me because none of my volunteer activites had any continuity (i.e. more than one semester at one place), maybe that would have helped, but it worked out in the end i guess- good luck!

  4. Congratulations on your acceptance, Good Doctor. By "competitive applicant" I meant an applicant like yourself, who of course had strong enough credentials to get in, or someone who realistically expects to get in. Thank you for your post.
  5. jimi

    jimi Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 6, 2000
    Well, I would tell this to anyone even if they were not applying to med school: The best thing I did during undergrad was to go abroad...I studied abroad in Spain one summer then the next summer I volunteered in Costa Rica...

    No matter what you want to do with your life going to a different country and getting a sense of what the rest of the world is like is one of the most exciting and perfect growth opportunities I have ever experienced...Also, there's tons of financial aid stuff to help you out too...

    I really can't emphasize just what a great exprience it was.

    Good luck in your decision making! Whatever you do, make sure you ENJOY it...I mean, this is YOUR life afterall!
  6. Cobragirl

    Cobragirl Hoohaa helper ;) 10+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2000
    In residency HELL
    I think an important part of "extra-curriculars" is doing just that! Go OUTSIDE of school / pre-med obvious activities. Take up a sport/hobby etc. that you like and become active with it. Both my pre-med committee and my interviewers were HIGHLY impressed that I'm a double certified scuba dive master, a member of two car clubs, and an amatuer race car driver, among other things. Of course I did all the normal school clubs, volunteering, etc. that most other pre-meds do, but those things were'nt even mentioned in my other hobbies were!
  7. tra

    tra New Member

    Jan 11, 2001
    Jimi, i read one of your posts in which you mentioned that you traveled, while during research. Also, you said that there is tons of financial aid out there for these trips. I went to couple of sites such as but all of them require you to pay for everything. I was just wondering if you can send me some info on the financial aid? Thank you in advance!!! Please if you can send your reply to [email protected]
  8. mvalento

    mvalento Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    chicago, IL

    i'm glad you brought that point up!! if there are any sophomores/freshmen/high school students or anyone else with the opportunity to study abroad, DO IT!! the semester that i spent in australia was easily the best time i have ever had. the same attitude comes from my friends who have been to london, france, ireland, asia, and my twin brother who spent a semester at bristol. i wish i could do this again!! can't wait to travel some in med school! (hopefully africa/south america/east asia). furthermore, almost every interviewer i have spoken with has asked me about that semester. not that it gives you a better chance of getting into med school, but it is definitely an interesting topic of conversation that tends to be noticed. check out the opportunities available at your school!

  9. gower

    gower 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2000
    New York
    Unless it is illegal or unethical, adcoms do not care WHAT you do for extracurricular activity. It can, but need not, have any connection with medicine. You could write poetry, drive race cars, collect stamps, coins, seashells, do photography, train watching, amateur theater, birdwatching or snail watching, fishing, whatever. What they like to see and know is the depth of your involvement, enthusiasm and knowledge. If you are involved with an organization, leadership rather than membership carries more weight. A "laundry list" of many activities, few or none of which you spend serious time, on is unimpressive.
    If interviewed, assume you may asked about your extracurricular activity; be prepared to answer in depth, with knowledge and feeling. Be careful: if you say you are a philatelist, for example, your intereviwer may be one also and if your knowledge is shallow, you won't impress. It is treading on dangerous ground to invent non-existent activities thinking you may not be asked about them afterward.

    The point of their interest can be seen in an old saying: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
  10. jimi

    jimi Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 6, 2000

    Most colleges and universities (I think even a lot of community colleges) have a department for education abroad.

    That's where they also have information about financial aid. You could also visit your financial aid office and ask for more info.

    The way it worked at my school is that aside from the random scholarship opportunity, if you take a certain number of units while abroad you are eligible for financial aid just as if you were attending the classes at your home university.

    The second you are a student (home or abroad) a lot of financial aid becomes available.

    I would look into your university's departments...if for some reason your college doesn't have such an office, look into the nearest colleges to you.

    I studied abroad through a university different than my own.

    Anything is possible with enough time and planning.

  11. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie 10+ Year Member

    Apr 11, 2000
    Dickinson, Tx
    I think that it is important to have SOME experience in a medical setting as part of your application - so you at least have a clue what you're getting into - but I also think that probably there are 2 other things that are just as important:

    1) breadth
    2) leadership

    For breadth, I mean I think it is important that you have extracurrics outside the sciences. Research is great, but adcoms do look for well-rounded people. For example, I have been involved in an acapella group, a dance club, dorm leadership, etc in addition to research, which i did in the summers.

    As for leadership, i think that if you just do, say one activity a semester, well, fine, but you probably wont end up in many leadership roles. Most of my secondaries specifically asked me to list leadership positions that I have held. If you cant put something good there, I think it might hurt you.

    And since you were asking about other's extras, here goes...4 years in an acapella group, 1 year as business manager, 1 year as director, 2 CDs produced. Dorm treasurer for 1 year, dorm president for 1 year. Biosci TA for 1.5 years, RA for 1.5 years. Founding member of Interfaith council, founding member/president of a spirituality-oriented club. Founding member of the student committee on diversity.

    I didnt spend loads of time volunteering etc, but I did get QUALITY experience by shadowing 24/7 in a pediatric oncology clinic for a week. I also was a research assistant in the lab of the chair of molecular/immunology at TCOM for 2 summers.

    Other people will probably disagree with me re: breadth and leadership, but hey, all I know is what worked for me. Good luck!


    [This message has been edited by Starflyr (edited 01-14-2001).]
  12. goingback

    goingback Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 8, 2000
    I am just wondering if you guys may think my dedication to the fitness field might be considered as extracuriculars? I held many leadership positions throughout high school , but never got real involved in anything at college. I am also going to get my personal trainers certification in the near future. I love helping people reach their fitness goals. I am hoping that will show that I have a desire to help people to become/stay healthy and that I will also love helping people when they are in need of medical help. What do you think? I don't know if I will get to do many clubs or the such this time in college because I will also be looking after my family . I do plan on shadowing some and trying to fit some other kind of experience in as well. Thanks!

    I would think that if you show that you can be a leader and that you have a desire to help others is the main thing. I don't think it should have to be directly linked to a clinical setting. Don't get me wrong though I think that is important as well. If you can get some patient care experience I feel will be all the better.

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