Return to MCAT® Blog Homepage

4 Things Every Pre-Med Needs on Their Application

Holistic review. That’s the keyword to keep in mind when applying to medical school. A lot of important numbers fly around when you’re thinking about med school, like your MCAT score and your GPA, and while these numbers are undoubtedly important, they are all just pieces of an overall larger puzzle. At the end of the day, there are a few things that differentiate good applicants from great applicants, and four things that shouldn’t be missing from any medical school application.

  1. 1. Volunteer Work

Being a physician means that you are going to be a public servant, and showing your commitment to your community will be the best way for you to show that you are ready for a career in service. To the hard-working pre-med student, finding a volunteer activity might seem difficult. After all, juggling personal relationships, school, taking the MCAT, and other extracurricular activities can be difficult, but volunteering is a must. However, make sure you are in a position where you can afford to take on another activity; recovering from a bad GPA from overextending yourself is much harder than adding in volunteer hours.

The most important thing about volunteering is to find something you are passionate about. If you are still in school, don’t hesitate to browse through your college’s club list. Most schools have a number of great student organizations that you can get involved with. Websites like are great resources that can help you find organizations that are perfect fits for you! It’s also important that you commit to whatever volunteer activity you choose. The admissions committee would rather hear about a project you stayed with consistently because you were passionate about it than see you in multiple positions at different organizations.

  1. 2. Clinical Experience

This one is self-explanatory. Schools will definitely throw out applications that don’t show a commitment to medicine, and a surefire way to show your interest in the field is through clinical experience. Working as a medical scribe, medical assistant, or even an EMT can be a great way for students to get their feet wet, help doctors, and learn more about the field of medicine.

When you choose your preferred clinical experience and start to get into a rhythm, it’s important to always keep your eyes and ears open. It’s easy to get complacent and fall into a mindless routine. Stay vigilant and ask the right questions—you’ll get more out of this experience than all of the others combined! This is a great way for you to understand what aspects of medicine you like and what aspects you don’t.

  1. 3. Leadership Positions

Medicine is always evolving and it needs leaders to spur its growth. A large part of being a physician is being the leader of a team. The job demands working with a number of other skilled professionals. Doctors have to create treatment plans for patients by working with other physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and other providers, and it’s important that they know how to lead their team and delegate as needed. A great way to show leadership qualities is to actually hold a leadership position! Whether it’s being the secretary at a small club at school or being the CEO of a company, every leadership position is notable and important.

  1. 4. A Good Story  

Your medical school application is more than an application. It’s a reflection of your life until this point. The way you present your story in your application will reflect the values you have, the type of person you are, and the type of doctor you are going to be. 

For example, my friend Nathan was extremely interested in sports and athletics. In his personal statement, he laid the groundwork for his story by explaining that he wanted to go to medical school after tearing his ACL in high school and began to understand how important physical activity was to his mental health. After that experience, he worked to help other people stay active through his volunteer work organizing charity basketball games. It also explained why he was the captain of his club basketball team and why he chose to work in a lab at his college that researched muscle tissue and how it responded to certain chemicals. Through presenting his story carefully, Nathan showed he had a specific reason for wanting to be a doctor, and he showed that he was a passionate person that would be a great addition to any community.

There’s a lot that goes into a medical school application aside from test scores and GPA, but it’s worth it in your journey to achieving your dreams of becoming a medical professional. Many students find it beneficial to reach out for help when applying to medical school, be it at the beginning stage with MCAT online prep, MCAT Live Online or when completing the application. Our Medical School Admissions Advisors are great at helping walk applicants through every step of the medical school application process. Schedule a free consultation to get a head start on your application! Just as the early bird gets the worm, the early pre-med secures their spot!


MCAT is a registered trademark of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which is not affiliated with Blueprint.