Is Teaching Consider An Extracurricular Activity for Medical Schools?

August 17

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Your extracurricular activities and personal statement are the first things an admissions committee considers to assess whether your goals and interests match what they seek in a future physician. Idealistically, they should include a few crucial elements like clinical exposure, research experience, and community involvement.

Your extracurricular activities can help the admissions committee decide if you have the dedication, emotional intelligence, and non-cognitive qualities necessary to handle the demands of medical school. 

Medical school extracurriculars can help you stand out from competitors and demonstrate your excellence outside of the classroom in a field with intense applicant competition.

Some medical students like you choose teaching as an extracurricular activity to enhance their application to medical school. If you wonder whether teaching is considered an extracurricular activity, this article is for you.

What are Extracurriculars for Medical School, and Why are They Important? 

An extracurricular activity is any leisure activity unconnected to academics or employment. This could be a hobby like dancing, playing an instrument, participating in sports, or community service.

Your personal statement and university application must include information about your extracurricular activities. When the time comes for you to start thinking about potential university courses or medical institutions, they enable you to stand out from other pupils.

You might be curious as to why universities give extracurricular activities such a high priority. In reality, though, universities and colleges must sort through a large number of applications, including those from candidates with comparable academic backgrounds.

A fantastic method for admissions staff to get to know you, your interests, and why you would be a good fit for their school is through extracurricular activities. 

Your extracurricular activities can make a statement about you and demonstrate why you should be chosen to pursue that degree. This still applies even if you and another applicant have the same grades and credentials.

You could be required by some institutions or medical schools to take part in specific extracurricular activities, including a set amount of volunteer hours in the healthcare sector. They do this to ensure you are passionate about helping people and aware of the effort involved.

Is Teaching Considered an Extracurricular Activity for Medical Schools?


For medical students, teaching and tutoring are beneficial extracurricular activities. Good communication skills are among the numerous attributes that admissions committees look for in applicants. 

Being able to communicate effectively and clearly is crucial for becoming a doctor. Physicians have to simplify and communicate complex medical concepts to their patients. 

Doctors depend on many other health workers, including nurses, assistants, medical students, and other doctors. To keep everyone in contact, they need to build solid ties with these people.

A doctor will serve as a teacher at many different stages of their career. When they are in their final year of medical school, many physicians will take part in teaching or tutoring, teach residents, and instruct patients in disease treatment, illness management, and self-care. 

Serving as a teaching assistant or mentor improves your communication abilities and establishes you as a leader. You are respected by your students, and they know they can rely on you to gently lead them through the course materials. You will probably pick up traits like empathy, compassion, and patience—desirable in prospective medical students.

How to Find Teaching Opportunities as a Medical Student

Finding (and landing) teaching opportunities as a medical student is difficult. You will be up against other candidates. Hence, you must be competitive to secure a teaching opportunity as you apply to medical school. 

Below are some tips on how to find teaching opportunities as a medical student.

1. Start Early

Getting started early prepares you for life. Start looking for teaching opportunities when you apply for medical school. 

Acquiring the abilities early in a field when instruction is so typical is pretty helpful.

There is no better place to begin than medical school. This is the setting where your instruction and the necessary skills will be most applicable to your teaching as a medical educator.

2. Join a Society for Medical Students Like You

One of the simplest methods to find a teaching opportunity as a medical student is this. This is an excellent place to start if you want to taste what teaching is like for medical students.

Based on this, you can advance to become the society's education lead and assume positions in the education subcommittees and central committee afterward. 

By accepting such situations, you can plan and implement internationally recognized instruction throughout medical school.

3. Establish Your Own Teaching

Alternatively, you can independently begin your own teaching series either by yourself or in collaboration with a few other medical students (the latter is what we suggest). 

Even though it might take longer to gain a large following with this — especially in the era of social media — you have more control over when and what you teach, and you can make it uniquely yours.

Take advantage of the chance to try something new by starting your own teaching business or serving on an education committee! 

While it helps to reinforce memory, repeating the same material in the same way could restrict what you can teach. Look for gaps in the curriculum and concentrate on areas where a specific topic is not prepared correctly.

As an alternative, consider teaching a subject in a new way. For instance, some students have prepared using the conventional strategy of covering each topic individually. 

In contrast, others have taken a case-by-case approach. Trying various techniques provides a fresh perspective on the material, which is especially helpful because the medical sector constantly changes. Moreover, presenting novel lessons might be a foundation for audits or studies.

4. Teach Alongside a Medical Faculty

There are teaching possibilities at medical schools themselves. 

In general, third-year medical students have the opportunity to serve as student tutors during their anatomy lab sessions, helping to teach and answering any concerns first- and second-year students may have concerning their anatomy dissection and related topics.

The medical school will send you information regarding this the week before the new academic year begins. 

Furthermore, it includes teaching as part of the mentorship process for first-year students. 

Mentoring is a great way to be part of highly recognized teaching but would like the freedom to choose and organize what you want to teach. Student societies at various medical schools are implementing mentoring systems at an increasing rate.

5. Seek Out Excellent Mentors

Often, the people you collaborate with are just as crucial as the product you do. When deciding which extracurricular activities to participate in, seek qualified mentors who can offer guidance.

These mentors are frequently the contacts who can write an impactful reference letter for you. 

For the individuals you are working with to write positive things about you, you must cultivate good relationships with them. A single bland or indifferent letter of recommendation can significantly affect an applicant's application to med school or residency.

Tips for Making the Most of Teaching Opportunities as a Medical Student

No matter your specialization, being a doctor will inevitably involve teaching. 

Regardless of where you are in your career, you will be expected to teach those in a lower stage of their career as part of your work. Therefore, it should not be shocking when one of a medical portfolio's most significant rating criteria is teaching. 

Besides aiding your portfolio, teaching offers numerous other advantages, especially for medical students. So, here are a few tips for making the most of teaching opportunities as a medical student.

1. Take as Much as You Can

Since medical school is a crucial period when you will be learning some fundamental principles that will live with you for the rest of your life, there is a unique benefit to teaching as a medical student. 

According to scientific research, teaching someone else about a subject is arguably the best way to retain information.

This makes sense when you consider that you must have learned the subject matter to a high degree to be able to teach it to others. 

Participating in teaching can help you solidify the knowledge you know for yourself as you instruct others, particularly in courses where the material covered will apply to your daily life.

2. Remember: Quality Over Quantity

Because some medical students believe it will impress admissions committees, they make the mistake of engaging in as many teaching opportunities as possible to prepare for medical school. 

There is no way that this is not the case. Admissions officers are aware that some students merely participate in a select few teaching activities to strengthen their application. 

Differentiating between tasks done out of genuine interest and those done only for completion is relatively easy. 

The primary indicators? The kind of activity and the amount of time spent on it — activities in which you briefly participated but did not fit the application story. 

Ensure to include only top-notch and related opportunities that require a substantial time investment.

3. Manage and Organize Your Time Well

It would help if you became a well-organized medical student while teaching as an extracurricular activity. 

Most of the time, teaching at medical school is optional and takes more time. Of course, scheduling and prioritizing skills are enhanced by dedicating time to instruction, especially if you do the teaching.

As a result, you have to learn how to manage your study time and become more effective and productive.

4. Be Resourceful and Creative at the Same Time

The education faculty at the medical school offers a wide range of projects, some of which involve unconventional teaching methods. 

Creating exam questions, participating in student Q&A, teaching for exams you helped create, and so on are a few examples of these undertakings.

Why, the education staff at the medical school is the ones behind this site itself. Once more, the medical school will acknowledge this extensively and award you with certificates for your necessary labor. 

More significantly, you will network with medical school faculty members, have access to additional possibilities, and gain a deeper understanding of how medical school operates.

5. Be Passionate of What You Do

Teaching is intended to be a means of passing on information to future generations. 

Understanding what you learned and how is vital for younger medicine students, a field where accuracy and competence are valued highly. 

Because of how similar your experiences are to theirs and because you have more life experience, students will be able to relate to you, the senior medical student, more than anybody else. 

As a result, teaching is a great honor and a way to contribute to developing the upcoming generation of capable medical students and physicians.

Additional FAQs – Is Teaching Considered an Extracurricular Activity for Medical Students?

How Many Hours of Extracurricular Activity Do I Need for Medical School?

While most schools do not, some require minimum hours for activities like shadowing. Try to have more hours than needed if you are applying somewhere with requirements.

Aim to commit to your extracurricular activities for at least 100 to 150 hours. However, there is no magic number.

Are Extracurricular Activities Necessary for Medical School?


Your application is not made or broken by your MCAT results and GPA alone, as medical schools typically evaluate applicants holistically. 

Your extracurricular activity list, recommendation letters, and essays are among the best methods to set yourself apart from the competition and highlight your soft qualities, such as empathy, communication, perseverance, and integrity.

You're no longer alone on your journey to becoming a physician

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