Start off on the Right foot
September/October: Meet Academic Advisor - review course planning sheet, major choices, introduce study abroad option, summer school options. Plan to meet again before next semester registration.
September/October: Meet Premed/Prehealth Advisor - get to know advisor and resources available to prehealth students, sign up for listserve/Twitter and/or Facebook lists , review course planning sheet, make regular schedule of appointments each semester (1-3 times)
Ongoing: Get into the habit of attending tutoring sessions, review sessions and office hours BEFORE you get behind or get confused. If you are on top of your work, these session will serve as a review. Consider being a tutor next year for this course.
Ongoing: Stay on top of your studies. Your grades are the most important part of your application so develop good study habits now. Set boundaries and stay balanced. READ, READ, READ! You need to build your speed and accuracy when reading. This will help you keep up with the demands of college level work and also prepare you for the MCATs. Many students struggle with the MCATs due to the volume of reading required under an intense time pressure. Building speed and accuracy takes time so start now.
After attending class, select 2 faculty that you will get to know WELL this semester. At the end of FY, you should know 3-4 faculty well and could call on them for a recommendation if need be. If you start this process NOW, you will have +/-10 faculty to PICK from once you apply to med school and need 5 recs.
October/November: Investigate Career Center range of activities- resume workshops, internship fairs, research opportunities, and mock interviews.
Always be on the look out for what you will do next summer. Deadlines can creep up on you. See Career Center, advisors, faculty, mentors for networking and ideas. See Summer and Research Opportunities and Overseas Opportunities links on this website for ideas.
APRIL: Before you leave for the summer, meet up again with your prehealth and general advisors to review your plans for the summer and if you are missing anything that needs to be addressed before/over/just after the summer (ex.: forms to be filled out for summer coursework taken elsewhere, major declaration forms). Perhaps they might remind you to research the study abroad options over the summer because applications are due in the fall. The idea is to start an ongoing relationship with your advisors and not just visit them when you have an immediate problem. They are a FOUNT of KNOWLEDGE, so get to know them and they will send information your way.
Build your Medical School Resume
Attend student activities fair - investigate 5+ clubs, join 3, actively participate in 3.
Seek clinical opportunities in community. Sign up for at least one activity this semester 3-8 hrs./wk.
Read and understand the AAMC Core Competencies for Entering Medical School Students. When you participate in any activity, identify which competency you can attribute to that activity. This will help you diversify your activity list and gather core competencies. Start documenting experiences, dates, contact information, reflections, and core competencies in a spreadsheet, journal or extended resume.
Facebook and/or Twitter Accounts: Sign up for university premed clubs and academic accounts, AAMCPreMed, AMSA, and follow 3-5 medical schools.
So what are you going to do? You have three months to fill....so fill it! You can do more than one thing. You can get a job, take a class AND volunteer as well. The more you do, the more experiences you have to reflect upon. Be busy! How about taking a Psychology class, volunteer at your church summer camp, work with an autistic child in your neighborhood, and work at a cafe (don't be afraid to take a job that makes money).
Clinical/health related experiences can come in all shapes and sizes. Think outside the box. Yes, you can work in a clinic or hospital, but also seek out other opportunities such as playing chess with someone at the senior center, teach a dance class to children with special needs, volunteer in a physical therapy setting or work at the local YMCA in the pool with a physical therapy/rehab class. Helping out a mom in your neighborhood with tutoring an autistic child can also be a great way to gain experience. Check out Newport's summer and research opportunities page.
Document your experiences. When you apply to medical school you will need to provide details about your experience such as dates worked, hours worked, manager contact information and a short blurb about the experience including reflection on your thoughts, challenges and insights. If you try to recall this information 2 years from now, you will forget a great deal of the details so keep a running journal or spreadsheet of your activities. Refer back to the AAMC Core Competencies for ideas.