Personal attributes and skills are extremely important criteria that health-related professional schools use in evaluating applicants. These personality traits, strengths of character, and life experiences are generally not obvious from your academic credentials. Medical schools look for applicants who have demonstrated PASSION and an ABILITY TO EXCEL in whatever they do. Successful applicants often spend time in the medical environment (EMTs, hospital volunteers, etc.), demonstrate valuable personality traits (leadership, compassion, communication skills, etc.), and leave a legacy of positive accomplishments in whatever way they choose to serve their community.
Accordingly, it is vital that you engage in extracurricular activities that allow you to develop and document these types of skills and strengths. There is no specific type of activity that is best for all; i.e., you have to find what is right for you. You do not even have to leave Clark’s local community. For example, participating in team sports, tutoring classmates or high school students, or being active in student organizations can be valuable.
To acquire experience in the medical environment, you might consider EMT training or volunteering at a hospital or medical clinic. Internship opportunities can be explored through Clark’s Career Connections Center. (See Academic Department Internship Listings.) Volunteer information is available on the Community Engagement and Volunteering (CEV) Center page.
Below are links to other volunteer opportunities:
Clark University Rapid Response (CURR) is a student-run volunteer organization comprised of both EMTs and First Responders. CURR accepts new members at the start of each fall semester. CPR & CFR training is offered to applicants in the fall, and an EMT course is offered in the spring. If you are interested in joining CURR, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Exploring opportunities to do community service, not necessarily directly related to medicine, is an excellent way to develop interpersonal skills, demonstrate caring for others, and build a record of positive contributions. Again, Clark’s CEV Center can help you identify such options. The United Way (Central Massachusetts) is also an excellent place to begin.
Several medical schools are striving to increase the number of doctors committed to serving traditionally underserved areas of the country, including rural and inner-city communities. Applicants who have served in the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, or Teach for America may have just the experience and expertise such schools are looking for.
One other valuable way to go beyond your classroom experiences is to become involved in scholarly research. Many opportunities to explore research exist at Clark, and if this is intellectually attractive to you, it is an excellent way to identify yourself as a scholar, to demonstrate your potential as a medical scientist, to demonstrate your ability to function as a member of a team, and to establish a record of accomplishments that your research mentor can cite in his or her letter of recommendation. Click on the link below to learn more about research opportunities:
Funding for Undergraduate Research.