The PremedHQ Guide

How to Succeed as a Prospective BS/MD Applicant During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of us, upending daily life for families, colleges, companies, and even sports leagues around the world. This is a time of great uncertainty, especially for high school students who are currently planning their future educational plans and careers. While seniors lose the opportunity to celebrate a major milestone of their lives, underclassmen cope with upset coursework and college planning. Students and parents are concerned, and rightfully so, as there is great uncertainty with relation to online classes, standardized testing, extracurricular plans, and college applications.

While there has been extensive media coverage of the challenges faced by our nation’s healthcare workers, corporations, and governments, the challenges faced by our students have been forgotten. How can high schoolers move through this obstacle and turn this time into an opportunity to stand out?

Foremost, it is important to remain focused on academics, maintaining good study habits and a normal schedule to stay on top of classwork. Outside of the virtual classroom, however, this is an excellent time for students to show off their independence and curiosity, especially as they find ways to enhance their learning and bolster their resumes with their newfound free time. With the lack of formal, structured activities during this period, students have more opportunities to truly stand out on their applications. Students also have more time to grow as future doctors and members of the community. Resumes and extracurricular experiences are especially important for prospective BS/MD students, and it is important to use this time to its maximal potential. Those who take advantage of this time to give back to their communities or enhance their personal interests will certainly stand out to admissions committees.

As a PremedHQ coach, I have been encouraging my students to brainstorm novel ways to give back to the medical community, which has been uniquely affected by the current circumstances. With doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff working overtime to care for our nation’s sick, there is a multitude of ways to make their lives easier. Creative students have started new programs to make homemade PPE for hospitals or donate food from local restaurants. Others have written letters thanking their community’s doctors or offered to help doctors with their household tasks so they can focus on work. More traditionally, organizations such as the Red Cross or BeMyEyes can always use motivated volunteers. Moreover, new organizations have popped up offering web-based shadowing for interested students. This can be an excellent way to use some of that free time at home to learn more about the medical field.

In addition to healthcare workers, our neighbors are hurting. With the current circumstances, many families are struggling to make ends meet. Care package distribution for local families who may be facing economic hardship is an excellent idea. Many students are volunteering their time to get groceries for elderly residents. While premedical students may not be able to volunteer at the local nursing home or hospital, they can organize remote activities or phone calls to keep lonely residents and patients occupied. Taking a local focus to any activity will help students see the biggest impact. Programs such as these can help a community in need while allowing students to develop leadership experiences and add to their community service experiences.

Moreover, with extra time at home, students can take some time to research their college options and learn about the diverse options available, especially for premed students. Premed students have countless options with different majors and programs that can help them stand out when they eventually apply to medical school.

Resourcefulness and creative solutions to this obstacle will set students apart. These are traits that make any doctor successful. Of course, also be sure to spend time exploring personal interests and developing new hobbies. Learn to cook, practice playing an instrument, and keep reading books. Above all else, remember to wash your hands and stay healthy!

If you would like to learn more or find out how to put these ideas into practice, feel free to reach out to us. Our coaching team is happy to help!