It's not just high school students who need to impress admissions committees with their extracurricular activities. Your GPA and MCAT scores will help you get into medical school, but your extracurricular activities will set you apart in the application process. Depending on the activity, you may also have the opportunity to learn important problem-solving skills, which will be useful both in medical school and in the professional world of work. In addition, medical schools want to know that students can handle difficult situations, such as dealing with conflicting patients or with disappointments in research.
Research is a crucial aspect of the medical field, so it's no surprise that medical schools are looking for students with research experience. Most medical schools do not have established requirements for hours of clinical work, but it is considered a good number to have between 100 and 150 hours of clinical work. As an international student, you'll need to consider additional considerations when choosing extracurricular activities for medical school. As I mentioned earlier, one of the most important things about extracurricular activities for medical school isn't just what you've done, but your ability to reflect on the experiences you've had. As an expert in the field of medical education, I can tell you that extracurricular activities are essential for any student looking to get into a top-tier international medical school.
MedSchoolCoach is the nation's leading medical education company and specializes in MCAT, medical school admissions consulting, and USMLE mentoring. We analyze the consequences of lying when applying to medical school and how plagiarism, exaggeration, or the use of AI can affect success. With fierce competition among candidates, medical school extracurricular activities can help you differentiate yourself from other candidates and show that you stand out outside the classroom. Qualities such as dedication, empathy, and leadership are critical to success in medical school and in the medical career, so admissions committees look for these characteristics in candidates. Whether volunteer hours are a requirement or simply a good complement to other degrees, volunteering provides personal fulfillment and educational benefits that all future medical school students should consider.
Medical school admissions committees are more concerned with their leadership capacity, whether taking on more and more responsibilities in a research laboratory, leading a new initiative through community service organizations, etc. Some students try to classify certain medical schools as “research-focused” and others as “clinically focused” or “service-focused.” For aspiring medical school applicants, volunteer service is a great way to demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to medicine. It can also be a great way for students to network and get recommendations from doctors, which can be helpful in the medical school application process.