by Lauren DiProspero, former admissions officer at Columbia University
College is the time that most pre-med students have been waiting for: they finally have the time and freedom to dig in and explore the field of medicine. Academically, pre-med coursework is mostly prescribed to meet the prerequisite coursework expected by medical schools. As a result, students look towards their involvement outside of the classroom as a way to confirm their desire to go to medical school. That exposure and reflection is crucial for creating a successful application. Medical schools do expect students to develop core competencies in addition to exploring what it means to become a doctor through experience. Admissions committees look for evidence of: empathy, ethics, compassion, maturity, leadership, and an understanding of a medical career. The experiences a student has in college, and beyond, can show all of these and more.