Health Professions Advising

Leslie Bell
Interim Health Professions Advisor


Gaining Experience

The choices you make at Hamilton and in the rest of your life will ultimately paint a portrait of who you are to medical schools; consequently, you should seek out various experiences outside your coursework that will not only help you to further refine and demonstrate your interest in medicine but will also aid you in developing those competencies/qualities that medical schools look for in an applicant, particularly those that relate to the "humanistic" side of medicine as opposed to the academic or scientific side.  Moreover, such experiences will help you to explore your chosen profession and see what parts of it you do or don't like. This website offers you links to some of the clinical, research, and service/volunteer experiences available at Hamilton and elsewhere. This list of possible experiences is not comprehensive, however, and you should also try to seek out additional opportunities.

Some Things to Remember

On your medical school application, you will have the opportunity to list up to 15 experiences and briefly explain why they were significant to you. While your grades and MCAT score give medical schools an idea of your academic ability, they look to these experiences to look at the person behind the GPA. Specifically, they will look to your experiences for evidence that you possess the "intangible" qualities necessary for a successful medical career, such as leadership, altruism, a desire to serve others, intellectual curiosity, dedication, maturity, etc. They will also use your experiences to see if you have adequately explored the medical profession (and know what you're getting in to) and are sincere in your interest to become a doctor.

It goes without saying that quality is more important than quantity here. A sustained commitment to a handful of activities is much more desirable than a cursory participation in many. It is also important to remember that you should strive to pursue your own personal interests in addition to clinical, research, and volunteer activities. College is a time to explore new things and develop a deeper connection to those activities or causes you are passionate about. Take advantage of this opportunity while you can. Besides, these experiences will add flavor to your application and help you stand out/be unique among all the other applicants.

Experience Ideas

You should contact Leslie Bell or perform an Internet search to find medically-related experiences. In order to make the most of these experiences, you should plan ahead so that you can fully utilize your time both during the academic year and during breaks. Here a few ideas to get you started: