What to prioritize as a premed college student

medical school admissions premed strategy

Being premed in college is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Here are a few things I wish I knew about being premed before going into college:

Prioritize your people.

Yes, grades, extracurriculars, and research experiences are all important. I can confidently say that people are more important. Your friends, family, mentors, roommates, and everybody in your life will be your support system through the good and bad parts of both medical school admissions and life. Spend time with them and cultivate the relationships that will make you strong enough to get through the process and also ultimately teach you the empathy and compassion required to be a physician in a way that classes can’t.

Stop comparing yourself to your peers.

Maybe you think you’re too different from your other premed classmates because of different grades, scores, and clubs. Maybe you think you’re too similar. Stop thinking in that way. Learn what you can from your peers and their experiences, but also remember that you have your own unique story and motivations for what you do. Embrace that you are who you are and that you will grow in a different direction from those around you.

Keep your goals in sight.

Do not think about “getting into the best medical school” or even “getting into medical school at all.” Instead, remember why you want to go to medical school first place and why you’re pushing so hard even when it feels like the end is nowhere in sight. It’s so easy to forget your why. For me, this conviction to serve patients in the specific way that physicians do, including solving complex challenges in medicine with both patient care and research, is what got me through the long nights of the medical school admissions process. 

Aarthi attended Yale University, graduating magna cum laude with a BS and MS in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. She is currently pursuing her MD in the joint Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program.

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