What to Do During Coronavirus for Your MD Admissions Profile
April 8, 2020
What to Do During Coronavirus for Your MD Admissions Profile
While the Novel Coronavirus outbreak continues, you may be seeking new routines as classes transition online and MCAT dates get disrupted. Academics are important, but you shouldn’t forget your extracurriculars. Even though the protocols implemented to limit large gatherings and public outings have prevented a lot of daily activity, there are still many remote opportunities for research and exploration as a future physician.
If you’re thinking about what to do during Coronavirus to build your profile, remember that you must find opportunities even while social distancing. Many of your clubs, volunteering initiatives, shadowing opportunities, and research experiences probably depended on being present on site. While it’s undoubtedly disappointing that these experiences can’t continue as usual, you must find alternative routes to keep strengthening your application. To guide you through the options available, we have included how you can continue working on the extracurricular side of your profile remotely, with examples of projects and ideas you can pursue for each category.
How to Build Your Extracurricular Profile
Medical schools want students to dedicate themselves to many kinds of extracurriculars. If you’re applying this year, hopefully you have a significant amount of involvement under your belt already. Look over your resumé and see which areas you need to improve on the most.
Don’t just pursue random volunteering or research opportunities. Keep in mind that we’re currently witnessing history, especially in the field of medicine. While ensuring your own safety is of the utmost importance, as a prospective medical student, you should think about how to address the impact of the Novel Coronavirus. Consider your specific interest in medicine and how the field is being affected as you take on different opportunities remotely.
Below, we’ve outlined how you can build your profile in greater detail when it comes to different aspects of your extracurricular profile.
Clubs and Other Activities
If you lead an organization for fellow prospective medical students, you might be wondering what to do during Coronavirus as a collective. Definitely don’t stop club operations completely! Conduct meetings online — take advantage of the tools at your disposal: Zoom, Google Hangouts, email, and social media. Think about how your group can engage with the current situation as pre-med students. Even though you’re not able to interact with patients directly, there are other ways your club can organize events remotely. Some examples include:
- Initiate a fundraiser to support a health organization whose work during the pandemic resonates with your group’s mission
- Hold discussions on relevant topics over Zoom
- Host an online lecture series and invite guests to speak about the impact of the virus and the role of future medical students
- Start a project that focuses on a specific goal, such as a collaborative documentary interviewing family members and friends on how the virus has impacted their lives
- Start a Facebook group to keep each other in the loop about your progress on different projects and pass along resources related to the virus
Even though you might be separated from the other members physically, you can still sustain communication and work towards a goal virtually.
You may be in search of research opportunities to boost your application. It can be hard to find opportunities with universities closing. Look for a research team whose operations can still go on virtually. Contact professors at your college to check whether they have any openings and if you can help out via email and Zoom. Or, start your own project relevant to the times. Some examples of topics include:
- Research the impact of the Novel Coronavirus on different age groups
- Analyze how different tech companies have reacted to the pandemic and what apps and tools have been released as a result of the situation
- Examine the efficiency of different testing methods used across countries
- Study how various cities have implemented medical care for patients
- Analyze how to minimize the impact of individual and communal trauma
- Compare people’s response towards the Novel Coronavirus outbreak to H1N1 or SARS
- Write a paper on the impact of the virus in your own community
- Explore the role social media has played in spreading authentic news about the pandemic
- Discuss the surface stability of the virus
- Examine the management of cancer care or other diseases in light of the Novel Coronavirus
While these are a few possible options, you can tailor your specific research question to fit other parts of your application and your particular goals within medicine. If your research results in a lot of interesting outcomes, you can write about your findings and see whether you can get an article published.
Journal Article or Research Paper
To go off my last point, the current environment can provide you with the time to polish a research paper — and submit it for publication. While it’s not a requirement for admission into medical school, you can beef up your resumé with the addition of a journal article! Below are some journal which accept articles from undergraduates:
- Journal of Student Research
- Journal of Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Excellence
- Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research
- Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences
There are plenty of issues surrounding the outbreak that can make for interesting articles. If you believe that your piece is unique and compelling enough, definitely reach out to journals — or even websites and news outlets if your writing is more of an op-ed — and see whether you can get published. Huffington Post and New York Times are two big-name publications seeking articles on people’s unique perspectives outlining how lives have been affected by COVID-19.
If you need more volunteering under your belt, search for community initiatives that you can participate in remotely — or, start your own. The Novel Coronavirus has left a lot of people in need. See how you can be of assistance to your community. Here are some suggestions on what ways to help:
- Reach out to your local hospital and see how you can assist remotely — inquire about supplies people can donate, check if you can help with food delivery, and whether workers have everything they need
- Spearhead a co-op that provides child care for healthcare workers
- Organize an online fundraiser to support those affected by the virus in your city
- Create information booklets with facts that you can share with younger students to create awareness about the pandemic
- Help out local businesses and restaurants — organize patrons to buy gift cards, share information about them on your social media pages, let others know of any promotions they’re running
It’s important for future doctors to demonstrate compassion, altruism, and communication skills. Being actively involved in helping out your community goes a long way in boosting your application.
If you’re well covered on all of the above fronts and you’re wondering what to do during Coronavirus for your MD application profile, why not start a creative project. Though you’re spending a lot of time indoors, you still have access to your computer, phone, and stationery to get started on an initiative that you may not have found time for before. Some possibilities include:
- Start a podcast on a specific, relevant topic that interests you
- Make a YouTube channel to cover the issues your community is facing during the COVID-19 outbreak
- Create a blog or daily online journal where you post your own writing or capture others’ stories from the pandemic
- If you’re good at computer science, work on an app that helps spread correct information about the Novel Coronavirus
You could also start projects that relate to a unique hobby that you discuss in your application:
- Paint a series of portraits featuring your family members and friends
- Make an Instagram page highlighting your photography
- Learn a new language that will be an asset when you are a practicing physician.
- Start a cooking blog, publishing your recipes online
It’s not the easiest year to prepare your application. But, as a medical student, you need to stay in touch with what’s happening around the world. Once you’ve settled more into the new pattern of things, start evaluating your profile to see where you need to improve. Take advantage of the resources in your arsenal to show admissions committees that you’ve made the most out of this situation. If you were previously unsure of what to do during COVID-19, hopefully some of these ideas can inspire you. Take care of yourself and continue working hard. Good luck!