You’ve just about finished finals and are heading home for winter break! I personally loved those few weeks to not only spend time with my family but to reset with my life plan. Classes for the next semester are more or less finalized so the next major thing to think about is SUMMER!
For pre-med students, it can be a bit confusing to know what you should or should not be doing over the summer. Three months is substantial time to do something that will add to your resume and consequently, your future application to medical school. Here are some options for what you could consider!
1. Summer classes: Although I didn’t love the idea of taking more classes during summer break, I actually found that summer classes were a great way to get ahead in my requirements. This is especially helpful as a double major! Plus, summer classes are often graded more favorably.
2. Research: Whether you already work in a lab or are looking to do a summer fellowship, doing research over the summer is such a productive way to keep on track as a pre-med student! I have a whole blog post about this so feel free to check it out. Read this blog here: www.shcollegeconsulting.com/our-advice-blog/finding-research-opportunities-plus-example-email-template
3. Internships: This is such a broad category but explore your options here! You could work for nonprofits, health tech companies, medical consulting, public health/policy, or any position that excites you! You don’t even have to do something that feels “pre-med”. Often the most unique experiences will help you stand out!
4. Volunteer: Racking up volunteer hours during the school year can be challenging so summer is a great time to devote to community service! You can look into hospitals, clinics, food banks, shelters, community centers, etc.
5. Study Abroad: If you are able, study abroad can be the experience of a lifetime. Although the pre-med lifestyle can feel all consuming, there are absolutely ways to work study abroad into your schedule. Chat with your counselors/study abroad offices to see what options there are.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of what you can do over the summer! I highly recommend taking this time over winter break to explore your options and see what might be of most interest to you.
As for what I did, my first summer, I did a research internship at Sandia National Laboratories and took an online English class at my local community college. The next summer I took an introductory biology course at my university while conducting research through my research lab. The third summer before senior year, I had originally planned to study abroad in Scotland but had to shift my plans when that was cancelled due to Covid-19. Instead, I took two classes, worked on my public health honors thesis, and studied for the MCAT!
I’d love to chat through any and all of these things. Wishing you all the best luck in summer planning!
Navya is a consultant on the Study Hall College Consulting team. She recently graduated from UC Berkeley in May 2021 with a double major in Molecular Cell Biology and Public Health. She is currently working as a medical assistant and applying to medical school. For more application and essay tips, check out our Study Hall College Consulting website at: shcollegeconsulting.com.