written by: Alexandra Baum
Premedical students are always wondering what activities they should participate in to make sure they are viable applicants to medical school. However, the answer to “What extracurricular activities are the best for premedical students?” is not so concrete, as there is no right or wrong answer. I recommend that students participate in activities that are most meaningful to them, because pursuing interests and hobbies you enjoy not only makes you who you are but also allows you to do things that make you happy and to find people with similar interests!
Some common extracurriculars that premedical students pursue are research and community service. Research allows students to delve deeper into specific scientific interests; learn important skills such as problem solving; and contribute to medical innovation and discovery. Additionally, you can pursue research in anything! Community service is also a valuable extracurricular, because it allows you to give back to your community, which is something that many medical schools value in applicants. As a future medical professional, it is important to help your community and peers, and there are many ways in which you can give back to your community. You can volunteer in healthcare settings (e.g., volunteering for a local hospital system) or volunteer at local community organizations, national organizations, or through clubs at your university.
In college, I participated in research, student government, and peer tutoring. I also volunteered at our local hospital and as a peer support counselor for students at our university. I chose these activities, because I was interested in them and very passionate about neuroscience research and mental health.
My biggest piece of advice for premedical students is not to choose an activity because you think it will look good on an application but because it is something you are passionate about and want to spend your time doing. The activities you do are a huge part of the people you meet and what you spend your free time doing, and it feels good to spend your time doing something that you enjoy! Admissions committees want to see what sets you apart from everyone else, and your extracurricular activities give you a change to let your personality shine.