Nov 19, 2013
Medical Student (Accepted)
What things can you do as an M1 that separate you from the herd both to faculty and residency coms. I go to a strict pass/fail school, and I find that if I only do school-work, I have a bunch of time on my hands. Its driving me insane. I feel unproductive.

What kind of things do people do in their first year (besides studying hard) that make them more competitive for residencies (particularly academic ones)?


The Oncoming Storm
5+ Year Member
Oct 22, 2013
All of Time & Space
Research, school volunteer organizations, electives, tutoring, getting an ateending/faculty mentor to help you build your resume up.

Most schools have the above opportunities.
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Moderator Emeritus
7+ Year Member
Nov 16, 2010
Resident [Any Field]
Big picture, your goal is to show a long-term "demonstrated interest" in your eventual specialty. This is obviously easier said than done, as most students don't have a specialty picked out by their first year. However, starting research early gives you face time with relevant faculty and begins to establish your reputation within the department. This will provide your (potential) letter writer with something concrete to talk about.

Many schools offer a variety of electives during the preclinical years. These often entail a minimal time commitment (one 4 hr shift per week). In addition to further demonstrating a mature interest in the field, these (more importantly) can validate (or refute) your career choice.

Lastly, getting involved at the national level is a potentially useful endeavor. You might be surprised at the extent of networking opportunities. Also, attending national conferences can give you a sneak peek at trends coming down the pipeline, which may give you a better idea of where the field will be by the time you're out of training.

Then, when the time comes for you to formulate your personal statement and address "why this field?" you will have a breadth of substantial experience to draw from.