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How Med Students Stay Competitive Over the Summer

How are you spending your summer vacation? Here’s how one med student is using the break to boost his career prospects.

Med students have a lot of options for how to spend summer break, so we talked to some students who are choosing to build their resumes by taking advantage of exciting opportunities.

Hamilton, a med student at the University of Arkansas, is participating in his school’s summer program in surgery. We asked Hamilton how he plans to prepare for an intense summer experience. He says that he’s using Surgical Recall. Hamilton says that a little summer studying from Anki, SketchyMedical, and First Aid can help you prepare in advance for Step 1, but he says that “studying all summer won’t appear on your CV, so it’s good to do something to make yourself competitive down the line.”

By spending a summer in surgery, Hamilton told us “I’ll get to act like a third-year over the summer and scrub into the OR.” Hamilton is an aspiring surgeon. He told us that this summer program has three main benefits for med students.

Do some soul-searching and find the right specialty

For students like Hamilton, summer experience can help with a big decision: which specialty to pursue. Spending time in the OR for a summer will be a window into the surgery specialty. Taking advantage of summer programs can be a great way to turn your nascent interest into a full-fledged career path.

Start networking now

Summer programs like Hamilton’s help med students make connections. Hamilton emphasized that developing relationships now may help med students find letter writers later.

Use research to stand out in the crowd

A summer program could be an opportunity to get some research under your belt, a possibly get your name on a publication. For a competitive specialty like surgery, scholarly achievements can go a long way.

As professional students, med students know the value of using time wisely. Whatever you choose to do, it’s always worth reflecting on how your experiences this summer may impact your career path.

Are you participating in summer programs, or are you taking steps to prepare for the USMLE Step 1 this summer? Try Cram Fighter free for 7 days and see exactly what you need to do each day. You could also read this article for ideas on how to keep everything you learned this year fresh!

About the Author

Erica Forrette is the former Director of Marketing at Cram Fighter.