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Blog / The Importance Of Extracurricular Activities For MCAT Admissions

The Importance of Extracurricular Activities for MCAT Admissions

Written by Seza on Nov 6, 2023

The Importance of Extracurricular Activities for MCAT Admissions

Are you dreaming of becoming a doctor and wondering how to boost your chances of getting into medical school? Well, here’s some good news: it’s not just about your academic performance and MCAT score! 

In fact, medical schools are looking for well-rounded applicants with a variety of experiences and skills. That’s where extracurricular activities come in. By participating in extracurricular activities, you can show medical schools that you are more than just a test score and have the qualities they are looking for in a future physician. 

So, let’s dive into the amazing world of extracurricular activities and explore why they are so crucial for MCAT admissions.


What Are Extracurricular MCAT Activities?

Extracurricular MCAT activities refer to how students can supplement their MCAT preparation through involvement in activities outside of the classroom. These activities can take many forms, such as participating in research projects, volunteering at a hospital or clinic, or joining a pre-med club. 

Engaging in these activities not only demonstrates a student’s commitment to the field of medicine but also allows them to develop important skills such as teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving. 

Extracurricular MCAT activities can be an excellent way to enhance a student’s academic experience and set them apart from their peers, ultimately helping them achieve their goal of becoming successful medical professionals. 


Why Do Extracurricular Activities Matter?

Extracurricular activities are an essential part of a well-rounded medical school application. Engaging in activities outside of academics demonstrates a student’s commitment to personal growth and development. 


Participation in extracurricular activities also showcases a student’s time management skill and prioritizes responsibilities. In addition, medical schools seek students with strong leadership skills, a collaborative mindset, and a passion for positively impacting their communities. 


Extracurricular activities provide opportunities for students to hone these essential qualities while pursuing their interests and contributing to society. Thus, engaging in extracurricular activities can significantly enhance a student’s chances of being admitted to medical school and pave the way for a fulfilling career in the medical field. 

What Are Extracurricular Activities?

Extracurricular activities can demonstrate to medical school admissions committees that you have a range of interests, talents, and abilities outside of academics that could make you a well-rounded medical student and doctor. Here are some examples that may impress medical school admissions committees: 


Volunteer Work at a Hospital, Clinic, or Community Health Center

Volunteering at a hospital, clinic, or community health center is an excellent way to demonstrate your interest in medicine and gain valuable experience in the field. You may be tasked with assisting patients, shadowing doctors and nurses, or managing paperwork. 

Volunteering also provides an opportunity to network with medical professionals and gain insight into the day-to-day workings of a medical environment.


Medical Mission Trips or Other Service Work in Underserved Areas

Medical mission trips or service work in underserved areas can show medical school admissions committees that you are passionate about helping others and committed to social justice. 

This experience can be precious if you plan to work in underserved areas as a physician. It can also demonstrate your ability to work in diverse and challenging environments and adapt to new situations.


Research in a Medical Field or Laboratory

Research experience in a medical field or laboratory can show that you have a passion for scientific inquiry and a strong foundation in the sciences. This experience can also demonstrate your ability to think critically and solve problems, essential skills for a physician. Research experience can include conducting experiments, analyzing data, or assisting with ongoing research projects.


Membership in a Pre-medical or Medical Student Organization

This can demonstrate your commitment to the medical field and your desire to learn more about the profession. These organizations provide opportunities to network with peers and medical professionals, attend conferences and workshops, and gain leadership experience.


Leadership Positions in Student Government or Campus Organizations

This activity can demonstrate your ability to manage and motivate a team, make decisions, and communicate effectively. These skills are essential for a physician, who must work with diverse healthcare professionals to provide the best possible care for their patients.

Athletic Participation, Especially in Team Sports

Participation in athletics, especially in team sports, can demonstrate your ability to work collaboratively with others and your dedication to personal fitness and health. This experience can also demonstrate your ability to balance academic and extracurricular responsibilities.


Performing Arts Involvement, Such as Theater or Music

Participation in the performing arts can demonstrate your creativity, dedication, and communication skills. These skills are valuable in medicine, where doctors must often think outside the box to diagnose and treat patients and communicate complex medical information to patients and their families.


Volunteer Work in Non-medical Areas, Such as Working with Children, the Elderly, or Animals

This can demonstrate your empathy, compassion, and commitment to social justice. This experience can also provide valuable opportunities to work with diverse populations and gain insights into the needs and challenges of different groups.


Internships or Shadowing Experiences with Physicians or Other Healthcare Professionals

Internships or shadowing experiences with physicians or other healthcare professionals can provide valuable insight into the daily life of a physician and the range of specialties and career paths within medicine. These experiences can also provide networking opportunities and insights into the professional qualities and skills essential for success in medicine.


Participation in Community Service or Outreach Programs

Participation in community service or outreach programs can demonstrate your commitment to serving others and making a positive impact in your community. This experience can also show your ability to work collaboratively with others, think creatively, and communicate effectively, all of which are essential for a physician.


How Extracurricular Activities Can Demonstrate Qualities That Medical Schools Value

  1. They can show that you are well-rounded with interests outside of academics. Medical schools want students who are passionate about learning and have various interests. Second, extracurricular activities can help you show that you are engaged in the world around you and desire to make a difference.
  1. It can demonstrate your leadership skills. Medical schools are looking for students capable of taking on leadership roles and working effectively with others. Extracurricular activities can help you show that you are confident and can motivate and inspire others.
  2. It shows your communication skills. Medical schools seek students who can communicate effectively with patients, their families, and their colleagues. Extracurricular activities can help you show that you can listen attentively, speak clearly and concisely, and resolve conflicts effectively.
  3. These activities can demonstrate your commitment to service. Medical schools are looking for students passionate about helping others and committed to making a difference in the world. Extracurricular activities can help you show that you are willing to give back to your community and dedicated to making the world a better place.


Statistics and Quotes from Admissions Officers About the Importance of Extracurricular Activities

  • According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), extracurricular activities are “one of the most important factors” in medical school admissions.
  • A study by the AAMC found that 91% of medical school admissions officers said that extracurricular activities were “very important” or “important” in their admissions decisions.
  • An admissions officer at the University of California, San Francisco: “Extracurricular activities are a great way to show that you are a well-rounded individual with interests outside of academics. They can also demonstrate your leadership, communication, and service commitment.”
  • An admissions officer at the University of Pennsylvania: “Extracurricular activities are a critical part of the medical school admissions process. They allow us to see who you are as a person and what you are passionate about. They also give us a sense of your character and your ability to work with others.”


What Kind of Extracurricular Activities Are Best for MCAT Admissions?

Plenty of extracurricular activities can bolster your MCAT admissions profile, and fortunately, many of them are directly relevant to the field of medicine. Clinical volunteering, research, and community service are all great options to consider. 

However, it’s important to remember that quality is more important than quantity and that depth of involvement is valued over a long list of superficial activities. Therefore, focus on pursuing activities you’re genuinely passionate about, and commit to them for a meaningful time. 

Doing so will not only strengthen your chances of getting accepted into medical school, but you’ll also gain valuable experience that will help you succeed in your future career as a doctor.


How to Showcase Your Extracurricular Activities on Your Application?

Highlighting your extracurricular activities on your college or job application is a great way to showcase your diverse talents and interests. You can use these activities to demonstrate your leadership skills, teamwork, and commitment to personal growth. 

When presenting your extracurricular activities, choose those most meaningful to you and provide the most insight into your character. Use action-oriented language and be specific about your contributions to each activity. To effectively demonstrate their impact and importance, it’s crucial to frame them in a way that showcases the skills and qualities you gained from them. 

By emphasizing the leadership, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills you developed through your extracurriculars, you can show admissions committees that you have the potential to be a valuable asset to their medical community. 

Remember to be specific and provide examples of how your experiences have shaped you as a person and a future physician. 



  1. Why are extracurricular activities important for medical school applications?

Extracurricular activities are essential for medical school applications because they demonstrate to admissions committees that you have a well-rounded background with skills and qualities that can contribute to the medical field, such as leadership, teamwork, and communication.


  1. What types of extracurricular activities should I include in my medical school application?

Include extracurricular activities that you are passionate about and significantly impact your personal and professional development. Examples include community service, research projects, volunteer work, leadership roles, and participation in clubs or organizations.


  1. How many extracurricular activities should I include in my medical school application?

There is no set number of extracurricular activities you should include in your medical school application. Instead, you should focus on quality over quantity and highlight the most meaningful experiences that showcase your skills and qualities.


  1. Can I include extracurricular activities from high school in my medical school application?

Yes, if they are still relevant to your personal and professional development. However, it’s important to prioritize recent experiences, especially those related to the medical field.


  1. Should I include extracurricular activities unrelated to the medical field in my medical school application?

Yes, you can include extracurricular activities unrelated to the medical field in your medical school application, especially if they showcase skills and qualities relevant to a career in medicine.


  1. How can I ensure my extracurricular activities stand out in my medical school application?

Focus on quality over quantity, prioritize recent experiences, and highlight the most meaningful experiences demonstrating your skills and qualities. Also, provide specific examples and quantify your impact whenever possible.



In conclusion, extracurricular activities can be a game-changer when getting into medical school. By demonstrating your passion, dedication, and well-roundedness, you can set yourself apart from other applicants and show admissions committees that you have what it takes to be a successful physician. 

So don’t underestimate the importance of extracurricular activities in MCAT admissions. And if you ever feel like you need expert help with your MCAT study, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jack Westin for a free consultation. 

With his extensive knowledge and experience, he can help you reach your full potential and achieve your dream of becoming a doctor. So get in touch with Jack Westin today and take the first step towards your future in medicine!

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