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How to Optimize Your Summer as a Pre-Med


It is finally summer! Whether you have just finished your first year of college or are further into your pre-medical path, using the summer to your advantage is imperative. Whether you need to enhance your application by engaging in new experiences or studying for the MCAT, this is the perfect time to participate in these activities.


One of the most essential components of the medical school application is clinical experience. Clinical experience includes direct patient contact, such as working as an EMT, Phlebotomist, EKG Technician, or CNA. Before being able to participate in these experiences, you may need a license or certification. For example, to work as a phlebotomist at a hospital or clinic, taking a phlebotomy course over the summer is beneficial to start working in the upcoming fall or late summer. By taking these courses earlier in your pre-med years, you can gain the necessary hours over a longer period.


Another way to spend the summer is by enrolling in summer courses. You can lighten your course load in the fall by taking one to two courses during the summer semester. As a pre-med, there are various prerequisites that must be completed before starting medical school. Therefore, you can stay on track by taking these classes during your first two years of college.


Taking part in summer research programs is another way to utilize this time. A great way to obtain these opportunities is to email professors in your university about available positions in their lab during the spring semester. This way, if they have an opening after the senior students leave, you would be among the first to be considered for a spot in the professor’s lab for the summer or fall semesters. Since research is time-consuming, it is best to start this experience when you have more time to dedicate to the lab.


Finally, the summer is a great time to start shadowing physicians in various specialties. One way to find shadowing opportunities is by cold-calling or emailing nearby clinics. Once you find a physician willing to let you shadow, you can dedicate several hours a week over the summer to learn more about their field and the general responsibilities of a doctor.


Using the summer to your advantage is imperative for your personal and professional growth as a pre-medical student. By taking this time to gain clinical experience, research, shadow, or even take summer classes, you are enhancing your knowledge and experience in the medical field.


Thank you for reading,

Ilana Saidov


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