The Pre-med Summer

MEDVIDEO440x244Welcome, the days of long sunshine. Welcome, the bloom of festivals.

So it’s summer. The perfect time to catch a break from a year of hard work.

For sure! But to a pre-med, there’s plenty to do for a fulfilling summer plan.

Med Applications?

Oh boy, if you’re in the last year of studies, you are probably in this boat. The best advice on the market is to start the personal statements early and edit many, many times. If you would like a gap year, do your research on how to make gap year successful and meaningful.

 

MCAT?

Yes, summer is one of the best times to take the MCAT because presumably you will have 4 months to prepare for it. But beware! A distant deadline is a great temptation to procrastinate.

Look carefully at which of your target schools require or recommend MCAT scores. It’s a good idea to book two exam sessions some 6-8 weeks apart, so that if you do not get a good score on the first try, you can study while the exam material is still fresh in mind.

For my experience and some tips see Part I and Part II.

Recommended next steps: Find more info on the MCAT at aamc.org. Go book at least exam day so you have a solid goal in mind.

 

Jobs?

Bills will always need to be paid. Even if you’re in good financial shape right now, you will need to save up some for putting yourself through years of med ed. Besides the money, jobs are great places to show commitment and earn references. No matter what position you have, strive to do your work a little better each day. You will get as much benefit as you put effort into it.

 

Volunteering?

Whether it be a local non-profit or teaching abroad, hundreds of McGillians donate their time and energy to a better cause each summer. There are always ways to get involved, whether it’s a week-long summer camp for disadvantaged kids or a 4-month commitment.

Be sure not to treat volunteering as a checkbox in your pre-med CV. You don’t have to volunteer in a hospital or anything. Admission committees (adcoms) look for the commitment put into the work and the skills/learning you got out of the experience.

 

Travel?

Go far and go big! Having an adventurous heart is also looked upon favourably by adcoms. Undergraduate summers will likely be the last opportunities you get to roam freely before you finish your medical training.

To make travelling fun and worthwhile: Look into studying and taking the MCAT in a foreign location. Do volunteering work along the way. Document your trip with a purpose (e.g. an exotic food tasting trip, local art appreciation trip, photography trip) so you will have proof of your awesome journey to talk about down the road.

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