As a pre-med, you will likely be spending hundreds - and possibly thousands - of hours on extracurricular activities. So of course you want those hours to be well spent. One of the most common questions pre-meds ask is what the best extracurricular activities for medical school is. The truth is that any EC that you are passionate about and successful in will help your medical school application. That being said, there are activities that are generally more impressive to schools. The top five are listed down below.
1: Medical Volunteering/Community Service
According to the AAMC, medicine-related volunteering or community service is the most important factor after references in determining admission. And this makes sense - it shows you have a passion for helping people through medicine. Being a pre-med is stressful, and someone who can take time out of their busy schedule to volunteer will definitely leave an impression.
2: Medical Work Experience.
Volunteering is one thing, but can you take responsibility? Can you hold down a job? Can you do what needs to be done when you’re not being thanked for it? These are all things medical schools want to know, and they are all things a job can tell them. If your work experience is medical, that is always a plus. Schools can see that you know what it is like to be a doctor, you know how difficult it can be, and yet you still want to do it.
3: Non-Medical Work Experience.
Medical work experience shows schools skills related to being a doctor, but non-medical work experience shows them what you’re like as a person. Do you write a blog? Do you run a karate class? Do you cook for a restaurant? Your work experience allows schools to see you as a full human being and, more importantly, it can help create a narrative that runs through your entire application.
4: Non-Medical Volunteering.
Volunteering of any kind is impressive - if it’s actually impressive. Ten hours volunteering at a soup kitchen where you mostly stood on the side and watched will probably do more to hurt your application than to help it. But volunteer work that you have put effort into will certainly boost your chances.
5: Leadership Roles
The word leadership is thrown around a lot when it comes to applications. Just as with volunteering, schools can tell if your leadership is actually impressive, or if it’s just a résumé-filler. Make sure yours isn’t.
But remember, just because an activity isn't listed here doesn't mean it's not good. Just make sure that you are passionate about what you are doing and schools will recognize that passion and take note of it.