Medical School Admissions, Explained

Clinical Experience

Welcome to the How To Be Pre-Med™ Clinical Experience Bucket.

Members of medical school admissions committees often say lack of clinical experience in the most common reason why pre-meds are not accepted to medical school. Does that surprise you? It initially surprised me until I thought more about it. Even more than academic achievement, research activities, and community service experiences, medical school admissions committees want to see that you know what it is like to be a doctor. Medicine is a grueling profession and certainly not the easiest path you can choose. Do you know what you are getting yourself into? Medical school admissions committees look for the answer to this question in your clinical experiences.

The clinical experience category is less broad than the research, community service, and extracurricular buckets. It specifically refers to activities related to doctoring. Examples of clinical experience include:

  • Shadowing physicians
  • Volunteering/working in a clinic, office, or hospital
  • Performing clinical research
  • Traveling on international medical missions

When looking for clinical experiences, try to get a broad view of the medical profession and witness the day-to-day life of different types of physicians. It’s also a good idea to volunteer or work in diverse environments, such as an office setting, emergency department, and inpatient hospital ward.