Hello, I am currently a freshman with hopes to go to med school right out of undergrad. I have not done any research, extracurriculars, or volunteering and was wondering if I need to. reassess my plan and take an extra year to apply because of this as I know many of my peers have been doing these activities since the start of the school year? I also wanted advice from someone who has done UROP as I have been accepted for my sophomore year but was wondering if it is better to find research on my own. This is because I have heard it is a hit or miss program with a lot of busy work not involving research and that mostly freshmen use the program and then leave it after sophomore year? Also, I wanted to get more involved in clubs and orgs, but don\’t know how to exactly gain leadership and climb that board of a certain club I am interested in especially because there are so many clubs to choose from? thank you so much
You definitely need to do some of those things you listed but not at all, but remember participating in those activities will NOT hurt your application and will only strengthen it. It is still not too late to begin these activities, you will not be forced to take a gap year! Medical schools understand that it takes time to adjust to college and so if you haven’t begun these activities from the moment you stepped foot on campus you can still be successful. I did UROP and then also moved onto an independent research project my sophomore year. While some of those things about UROP may be true, they do guarantee you a research project which can be somewhat difficult to do on your own. We have other mini-blogs on finding research independently that you can refer to if you are interested in that, but UROP is definitely a solid path to go down if you feel completely lost finding research and would like a guide. In terms of leadership and student organizations there is no “how” and I cannot give you a step-by-step formula to become president of the organization you are involved in. I recommend that you join clubs that you truly are passionate about or interested in. The more time you spend with that club the more the leadership will see you and you can demonstrate to them that you deserve a leadership position in said club. If you have any other questions please (virtually) drop into our Office Hours. Good luck!