By: Savvy Pre-Med Staff
The holiday break can be a time of blissful unproductivity - lazing around, eating hearty meals, tinkering with new presents - but it can also be a good time to put in some work on your medical school application (hopefully it’s a little bit of both!).
So, if you are feeling ambitious, how exactly should you spend your holiday break?
Well, that depends a little bit on how far along you are in your pre-med journey. Regardless of whether you recently applied or won’t be applying for a few years, we wanted to give you 6 possible options for holiday productivity.
But other than those options, there’s a way you can ingratiate yourself with the medical schools and get that proverbial “foot in the door.”
Here is a list of upcoming virtual pre-med conferences and medical school fairs:
Charles Drew University Pre-Health Conference - January 9, 2021
NHMA 2021 Pre-Health Virtual Conference - January 23, 2021
Physicians of the Future Summits - January 23, 2021
UC Davis Virtual Pre-Med Symposium - January 23, 2021
UCLA DGSOM Pre-Med Conference - January 23, 2021
Stanford University Minority Medical Alliance (SUMMA) Conference - February 6, 2021 Virtual Pre-Med Conference : Students Today; Doctors Tomorrow - February 20, 2021
KU School of Medicine Premedical Student Conference - February 27, 2021
UC Davis 2021 Virtual Womxn in Healthcare Symposium - February 27, 2021
AMWA’S 106th National Conference - March 25, 2021
It’d be wise to check the websites of each school on your list to see what types of conferences, fairs, or virtual visits that they’re offering.
For one, you can potentially rub elbows (virtually, of course) with students and faculty from the school, which could potentially give you an edge over other applicants.
Secondly, it gives you something very concrete that you can bring up in your update letters when trying to show your ties or connections to a school.
Once you’ve registered and logged in for the event, here are some tips for how to conduct yourself and make the most of the opportunity.
If you’re preparing to submit your AMCAS in May/June of 2021, it’s definitely not too early to get started on your essays.
This could mean any number of writing exercises:
It’s also not too late to train yourself to become a better writer. You might have to unlearn some bad habits, but it will be worth it.
So, where can you start?
Well, if you didn’t already know, our Savvy Pre-Med homepage features an amazing search tool that lets you filter by location, type, metrics, out-of-state friendliness, tuition, and even the difficulty of secondary essays!
Oh, and there are also some other search tools out there, too (not just the MSAR!).
Hospitals and clinics have mostly banned pre-med students from shadowing and volunteering, but medical school admissions committees continue to require hundreds of clinical hours (~300 total, 100 shadowing) in order to get in.
You could opt to get an EMT or phlebotomy certification, but those essential jobs typically require 20+ hours per week, not a time commitment that most full-time students can keep.
So how do you get clinical experience when you're not "essential personnel?"
We highly recommend virtual shadowing through the THE HEAL CLINICAL EDUCATION NETWORK:
Or you can look into other virtual shadowing opportunities as well.
When you have less to do over the holidays, it’s easier to develop new habits and routines from the ground up.
This could mean any number of things:
If you’re looking for some inspiration, or just some good reading, we recommend the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.
We’re big proponents of what we call the pre-med capstone project, which is a self-initiated endeavor where pre-meds find an intersection between their skill set and a particular community need.
Capstone projects are a surefire way to stand out from the pack, and pre-meds that take the time to complete one are almost always successful in their applications.
Recently, during the pandemic, we wrote an entire post about how to design a virtual capstone project, including several examples.
If you don’t feel like spearheading something at the moment, we compiled a large list of ways to volunteer from home during quarantine, so there’s no excuse for not getting involved!
Have any questions about how to spend your holiday break? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll respond to you personally!