A common concern among undergraduate premed students these days is how COVID-19 may impact their application plans to medical school. Before offering some ideas for using this time productively, a gentle reminder: Most medical school committees are comprised of physicians, all of whom would much prefer that you practice social distancing and basic hygiene over attempting to finesse your application. Whatever you do, stay calm and prioritize your health and the health of your loved ones.
Idea #1: Learn about healthcare delivery or a new aspect of the healthcare system
The field of medicine is constantly evolving, and physicians are expected to know more about the dimensions and contexts of healthcare delivery than ever before. For example, as a physician, you may want to know more about medical insurance, bundled payment models, and incentives that correlate to financial performance. Or, perhaps, you may want to know more about healthcare law, policy development, and advocacy. While you are at home and have more free time, it may behoove you to gain more experience in one of these facets of the healthcare system. A great way to do so would be to enroll in free online courses offered through edX and Coursera. Should you be interested in gaining a certificate in these courses, you can do so at a fraction of the cost of undergraduate tuition. This is a great way to keep yourself engaged, learn more about medicine, and prepare yourself for the inevitable “why do you want to be a doctor?” question.
Idea #2: Incubate an idea and research it remotely
If you have the inkling of a problem in medicine you would like to investigate, now is an amazing time to get after it. For example, you may be interested in learning about quality outcomes in hip replacement patients who have diabetes. Or, you may be interested in learning about how COVID-19 has changed the caseload and types of cases that hospitals receive. Does the ED receive fewer alcohol poisoning cases because college students are mostly at home? Does the ED receive more cases of preventative issues, like high sugar in diabetes patients, because parents cannot afford insulin medication? Take some time to think of an idea that’s important to you, the ways you might access data around it, and spend some time honing your analytical and research skills.
Idea #3: Start preparing for the MCAT early (at home)
The summer is a popular time for students to study for the MCAT. While we cannot be certain about when test centers will re-open or how exams will be rescheduled, the MCAT is still a crucial measure of the knowledge you will need in medical school. It may be beneficial for you to take the time now to create a plan to study for the MCAT. The Cambridge Coaching admin team is always happy to provide free consultations (call us at 617-714-5956). We are also offering a free, live MCAT webinar on Fridays. Feel free to inquire and we will send you a registration link.
Idea #4: Volunteer remotely with your primary care provider
Primary care physicians (PCPs) rely heavily on annual checkups as a source of revenue, but most annual checkups are voluntary. Because of COVID-19, many people have canceled their checkups, placing a burden on PCPs and their offices. Additionally, many physicians and patients have fear in transitioning to telemedicine due to the difficulty of using technology. However, if you’re “tech-savvy” and interested in this aspect of medicine, you can contact your PCP and work with them to implement ideas to help them retain their patients. This is a neat way to incorporate medicine, technology, and business, while also bolstering your application.