Irrelevant? Think again about how the experiences you have had could be of interest to the people reading your medical school applications. They might be more interesting than you first thought.
That’s advice that second-year College of Medicine student Emily Lather recently gave to students at her undergraduate institution, the University of Akron (UA). Lather, who attended UA through NEOMED’s former Accelerated Pre-Medicine Cohort Program, returned to the Northeast Ohio campus Wednesday, Sept. 5, to meet with pre-medicine students in a Healthcare and Delivery Systems course.
“I entered NEOMED as an early decision direct entry. I think this made my talk even more interesting, considering I did not have a seat “waiting for me” throughout undergrad and I was competing against a lot of other well-deserving pre-medicine students,” she explains.
Lather emphasized to the undergraduate students how important it is to have a broad spectrum of experiences under their belt to share on their medical school applications.
“Even the opportunities that you may find irrelevant to your medical school application are important. Whether you found a way to serve others outside of medicine or even learn something from an experience you didn’t enjoy, you can always take something away from that opportunity and use that knowledge to better yourself,” Lather told the students.
Identifying your strengths
What sets you apart? In Lather’s experience, it was beneficial to be involved in the Healthcare and Delivery Systems course. Lather also participated in her undergraduate university’s Emerging Leaders community – a program for select first-year undergraduates at UA. Beyond that, her research experience at Cleveland Clinic Akron General, her role as a Williams Honors College biology peer mentor, and her employment at the university’s Office of Accessibility all helped her build a robust background — and to find a place at NEOMED.
“The importance of community involvement and taking on leadership opportunities as you progress through undergraduate curriculum is often emphasized to students pursuing further education, yet they often feel overwhelmed and confused as to when to start, where to look, and why these experiences are so critical,” explains Lather. “I hope that speaking with me – a current medicine student who was not too long ago facing these obstacles—might be the motivation some students need to jump-start their involvement and take them further on their journeys.”