Medical School Admissions Committees are interested in applicants having more than just good grades and high MCAT scores. They are anxious to see "well-rounded" individuals with a variety of interests and abilities. Extracurricular activities are not necessary, but can be an asset to make a more competitive application. Involvement in student government, campus clubs, or college publications should be evidence of leadership skills and ability to deal effectively with people. These activities are time-consuming, however, and extracurricular involvement to the detriment of academics will not be an asset to your application. Students getting involved in extracurricular activities should do so moderately at first. Once it is clear you can handle your academics and some extras, you may decide to do a bit more.
There is another area of extracurricular activity that serves two purposes. Working or serving as a volunteer in a hospital should be helpful in making a decision as to whether or not you are suited to medicine. In addition, an admissions committee may well feel that an applicant with hospital experience is making a more thoughtful and informed career choice than an individual with no such experience.
Neither of these extracurricular activities (student government or hospital work experience) are essential to assure acceptance. Of these two, experience in a medical setting is more important. When you notify the Medical Recommendation Committee that your are applying to medical school and need a recommendation, you should give the academic dean's secretary a list of your extracurricular activities.
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