Showcase a Passion Project as a Pre-Med Student
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Shravya Kakulamarri in a CollegeVine Livestream. You can watch the full Livestream for more info.
- Step 1: Identify a Problem in Your Community
- Step 2: Conduct Necessary Outreach
- Step 3: Think About Where You Can Add Value
Many students wonder what extracurricular activities look good on medical school applications. Working in a research lab might come to mind, but you shouldn’t feel the need to stick to this traditional path.
In this article we will discuss how Shravya, a CollegeVine livestreamer, started her passion project of establishing a branch of the Medical Reserve Corps in her hometown. Read on to learn about her experience and tips for how to find your own passion project.
Step 1: Identify a Problem in Your Community
Shravya lived and went to high school in Seattle, Washington. One day she read about a horrible landslide in a city a couple hundred miles away called Oso Washington. She was interested in learning about the first responders and learned the Medical Reserve Corps were the first to arrive to help.
The Medical Reserve Corps is an association of medical responders that has chapters all over the US. They dispatch at any emergency situation and were the first ones on site in Oso. This made her interested in working for such an organization, but she realized her city of Richmond in Washington didn’t have a branch.
By noting the lack of resources within her community, Shravya realized that she could make a positive impact. If you are trying to showcase leadership and initiative through your extracurriculars, we recommend that you start by thinking about how you can help the communities around you. What could you do with your time and resources that can help others?
Step 2: Conduct Necessary Outreach
Shravya knew she wasn’t qualified to join the organization, but she saw an opportunity to help establish a branch of the Medical Reserve Corps in her community. The next steps were reaching out to the local police department and some officials in city hall.
After constructive conversations where she advocated for the need to establish a branch, the city helped her put together the organization. Then they began the process of enrolling physicians and other medical professionals in the organization through health fairs and other outreach strategies.
After identifying a problem within your community, the next step is to figure out what actions are necessary to solve it. In some cases like Shravya’s, this will include going to community officials, but in other cases this may involve reaching out to other friends and family for extra help. No matter what you are trying to solve, it’s important to begin understanding the details of the situation and planning out your next steps.
Step 3: Think About Where You Can Add Value
Shravya’s passion project wasn’t entirely a new idea, but instead was a response to a recognized need in her community. It’s important to think about existing organizations and how your skillset contributes to an issue you feel connected to. In fact, the Medical Reserve Corps has a bunch of great opportunities for high schoolers, such as volunteering if there’s already a chapter in your city. For example, you can make phone calls to educate people about the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage people to get the vaccine.
Remember to think local. The most important thing is being aware of your community’s needs, and then you might find a space where you can add value. If you are a talented artist or musician, think about how you can share these talents with your community. If you excel in one specific subject in school, consider helping others in your community learn about this topic. After making a positive impact, the final step is to showcase it in your college or medical school application as a bonus.